When Jeff Probst read the votes last night I got so worked up shouting
at the TV that my Tivo is recommending I watch episodes of Doctor Phil.
In real life the good guys don't always win. But when they do - when
the real bad guys of the world get punched in the face like a kids'
pop-up punching bag - it's a beautiful thing. The human drama is back.
Survivor is socially relevant again and it has never, ever been more
At Tribal Council Ben put his Hummer-sized male ego on the line against
Jaison's deeply held convictions. Ben seems to live every moment of his
life in the present tense, as though there's no consequences to
anything he says, and anything that happened in the past is completely
irrelevant. Jaison is no quiet bookworm. He's courageous enough to
stand up for what's right. But the man lives totally in his own head.
Ben fights like a starving dog. Jaison fights like the love child of
Barack Obama and Mister Spock. It was a contrast in styles between
Ben's nostril-flaring fear mongering and Jaison's air tight arguments.
Then there's Natalie, who was stuck in between them. If you thought
your middle seat on a transatlantic airline flight was bad, the chances
are Natalie would have paid you to switch. Her grimaces, sweaty face
and uncomfortable titters of laughter told the whole story. She could
have choked on the testosterone. The only thing that would have made
Tribal Council would have been if Natalie had raised her hand and asked
Jeff if she could change seats.
A lot has been made of the bad
guys this season. But what about the good guys? Jaison is one of the
world's true gentlemen. Sometimes you admire people at arm's length.
Not him. I would gladly have a beer with the guy. Or a Grey Poupon
burger and arugula fries. Whatever Jaisons eat.
Shambo the Rambo
looks as though she may capture her tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol next
week, and I hope she does. My guess is there are some pretty bright,
genuine people in that yoga class, but it doesn't sound like they're
very good at surviving on the island. Thank goodness Shambo marches to
the beat of her own conch shell because I don't want to see Monica -
sweet as she is - get washed away to sea clinging to a once-fluffy
beach towel and a hammock.
And how cute is Ashley? I'm not sure
if she has Marisa's maturity and sense of self. But if Marisa was the
TV girlfriend I loved talking with, Ashley is the new TV girlfriend who
smiles and makes me say "What were we talking about?" And mark
Russell's words, because they read like foreshadowing. Ashley may well
form a girl power alliance and take out good ole Johnny Russelseed
before the season is over.
Thankfully after the good cop went
down last week, the outlaw got put away. As it stands we're less than a
quarter of the way into Survivor: Samoa. Ben won't be able to hold the
entire season hostage with his remarks, and that's the way it should
be. There's still a whole other tribe to introduce. The other kids
deserve a turn on the swing set. I just hope they earn it the way Ben
The past three episodes have been some of the most
spellbinding in Survivor history. Survivor has returned to the human
drama that I fell in love with in the first season. Genuine emotions
have been laid bare. The characters love and hate each other, so we do
too. Better yet, there's a real social relevance again. Fans are
talking about on-going issues of racism, sexism, Hurricane Katrina and
the devastation in Samoa. Let's not relax back into long puzzle
challenges and tedious strategy talk now that Ben's gone. Let's see
some more lives changed, hopefully for the better.
-Henry Jenkins Guest Columnist(Image courtesy of CBS)